The San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos will send out their starters for a little bit longer on Saturday, as they square off after two days of joint practices. We took a few minutes to chat with our friends at Mile High Report about the Broncos heading into this game. There is plenty to discuss about their quarterback situation and strong defense, but we also asked them who to watch for in the fourth quarter, and which two 49ers players they would take if they could have anybody.
Niners Nation: How is the quarterback situation developing?
Mile High Report: Regardless of what the MSM wants to paint, the picture looks to us like a honest to goodness open QB competition. Training camp snaps matter. Preseason game snaps matter. No one is being given the reigns to this Super Bowl winning team. One of Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian, or Paxton Lynch is going to need to earn it.
The tidbits I've picked up of interest are as follows:
- Paxton Lynch is getting a ton of reps albeit with the 3rd string in practice. The coaches are trying to bring him up to speed on the NFL game ASAP.
- Mark Sanchez was brought in for his veteran experience, not because the coaches know something we don't. The coaches focus with him have been in getting him to not make mistakes.
- Trevor Siemian has a surprisingly good arm. He hasn't shown that he can put it all together yet, but if he gets the game to slow down for him and adds some accuracy, he could be a decent NFL QB someday.
NN: The Broncos defense seems to be making it clear they think they could have a great unit this season. What are fan expectations, and what would be the weaknesses of the group?
MHR: They still have a chip on their shoulder after winning a Super Bowl. All the media seemed to point to in the offseason was that they would slip due to the losses of Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson.
As fans, we don't expect that problem at all. I've watched this team for over 3 decades and this defense is THE most talented unit I've ever witnessed in orange and blue.
The only weakness we see is currently is the youth at the DE position. With Vance Walker going down (who quietly had an amazing season as a rotational guy last year), we are going to be leaning on a rookie in Adam Gotsis and a 2nd year guy in Darius Kilgo to handle some significant snaps.
NN: As a whole, what are team expectations coming off the Super Bowl win?
MHR: In Denver, the fans have been spoiled for decades. This team wins. In 32 years of Pat Bowlen owning the Broncos, they have only had 5 losing seasons.
Personally, I always expect a playoff appearance. If the Broncos get in the dance, then I am happy as a fan.
That being said, this team can repeat. Their defense still is that good and all we need is an average offense (which would be a huge step forward from the garbage we saw last year from the offense) to be serious contenders.
NN: Who are two Broncos players the 49ers should be watching when the bottom of the bench is playing in the fourth quarter?
MHR: Paxton Lynch is a guy to focus on. You can see in his play he has the tools. He has a big arm, his footwork/scrambling is very good, and he makes good decisions as a rookie. He is the future of the franchise and his development is being very entertaining to watch as a NFL fan.
Staying with the offense, I'd point to Kapri Bibbs as well. He's been on the team doing practice squad work for a couple of years and he's looking the best he ever has this year. He's fighting to make the team and his runs looked very good in preseason Week 1.
NN: Time for fantasy land. If you could have any 2 players from the 49ers roster, who would you pick and why? You might have to get a little more creative for this!
MHR: Collin Kaepernick is a guy I'd honestly take if the money was't so bad. This team needs solid QB depth and he would look really good in this offense. (Please don't flame too hard...remember we're in fantasy land)
NaVorro Bowman is another guy who's game I love. He'd be a big asset for Denver for the defense and another playmaker who's always around the ball.